Vulcain Cricket Nautical

Vulcain Cricket Nautical

Modern life is punctuated by the sound of alarms. But these tinny ringtones are nothing compared to the robust sound that resonates from a vintage alarm watch. These watches were meant to be heard, and one listen transports you back to a time when all you needed to know was right there on your wrist. 

Jaeger-LeCoultre has its Memovox. Its aquatic variants, the Polaris and Deep Sea Alarm models, are regarded by many dive watch collectors as the horological equivalent of the Giant Squid. We all dream of the day when they might find an unmolested example in a bin of watches at their local thrift shop, a true treasure among the hordes of defunct Fossils and broken Timexes, as one lucky so-and-so did a few years back.

For everyone else, there’s this watch—the Vulcain Cricket Nautical.

Prior to this model's debut, Crickets had already gone to some of the world’s most forbidding landscapes. Far from being the refined sort of watch that its reputation as the watch of presidents would attest, Crickets were carried to the summit of K2 as well as deep in the jungles of equatorial Africa. Or so the advertisements read.

So creating a version meant for underwater use wasn’t a stretch of the watch’s capabilities.

In 1961, the manufacture enlisted the help of underwater explorer Hannes Keller. Keller had already pushed the boundaries of human endurance when it came to exposure to extreme depths, having dived to 728 feet in Lake Maggiore. Alongside Keller was another diver, Arthur Droz, and explorer and film director Max-Yves Brandly.

The Cricket Nautical was the first wristwatch that could withstand pressure at 300 meters. Also, it was one of—if not the—first wristwatches to incorporate decompression charts in the design of the dial. Enclosing it all was a SuperCompressor-style case with twin crowns, one to operate the inner bezel and the other to set the hands.

And above the crowns is a pusher that operates the alarm.

For anyone who’s never worn a wrist alarm before, the sound is like something from another time. Since the Cricket Nautical was designed to be worn underwater, the alarm had life-saving properties. As such, it needed to be resonant, able to be heard above the hiss of a regulator. What results is a sound that you’ll never forget hearing, whether at depth, rousing you from sleep, or in the middle of a press conference (as what happened to a certain president). The Cricket is a staple of watch design, and the earliest models of the Nautical went on to spawn later versions, such as the one we're offering HERE.

This particular, a Reference S2321A, is an absolutely fantastic example of one of those first generation of Cricket Nauticals, and holds a special place in the hearts and minds of diving watch enthusiasts around the world. From its robust, acoustically-engineered case and dual-crown, single button operating mechanism to the oversized luminous hands and beautifully designed function-forward dial design, the S2321A is a pillar of any tool watch collection. This piece is without question a world-class example, and will make someone very, very happy!


SKU: AS02179

Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown). Vulcain Ref. S2321A. Calibre R Alarm Movement. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: Case is in excellent condition overall with minimal signs of wear from age and use. Dial is in fantastic condition with bright, vibrant colors and crisp printing. Shows light even patina to the luminescent elements on the hour markers and hands. Unsigned crown. Signed case back.

Includes one rubber Tropic strap with signed clasp.

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